Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mrs. May Rutan

Looking through estate papers I have come across a name that at this time is a brick wall. The name is "Mrs. May Rutan". I am fairly sure this is Ella May Davis, the daughter of Esquire Davis and Mary E Stevenson. Ella May Davis was born 16 May 1863 in Knox County, Ohio.  Her father, Esquire Davis, died 12 Mar 1863 in Lake Providence, East Carroll, Louisiana. He accidentally drowned while fighting during the Civil War.  Two and a half years later, Ella May's mother, Mary E. Stevenson, died on 20 Nov 1865 in Knox County, Ohio.

Pension papers were filed for the three children. At that time it was noted that Ella May and her siblings, Sylvester Richard Davis, and Emma Augusta Davis, were all guardians of Marshall Clark. In the 1870 federal census Marshall Clark is living in Middlebury Township, Knox, Ohio. Living with him is a Ellen M. Clark, age 7. This very well could be Ella May Davis.

I have looked at marriage records during the 1880s-1900 time period. There are some possibilities, but none to a Mr. Rutan, and none that can be traced to anyone marrying a Mr. Rutan, at least in the Knox County, Ohio area. I checked both Ella May Davis and Ella May Clark, looking at both Ella May and May as given names.

Both of Ella May's siblings, S. R. Davis and Emma A. Davis Burson, are mentioned in the same estate papers. I've been able to figure out all the other heirs in the estate papers. All heirs are either siblings, nieces or nephews of the two men whose estate is being settled. I guess it's possible that May Rutan is actually a great-niece, but at this time I have no evidence of this.

If anyone has any information on Mrs. May Rutan, please leave a message!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

William Porter's First Wife

I don't have definitive proof yet, but I have finally seen a first name for my 2nd  Great Grandfather's 1st wife. His daughter, Cordelia Porter James, died 7 May 1900. Her death record states that her mother's given name was Phebe. William has another daughter, named Phebe Rosella Porter, so this could be it. Now to find that elusive maiden name.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ohio Research Trip October 2011, Part 3

This research trip was different than many of the others I've taken. I think it was more about me, and not so much about those that came before me.

As I mentioned in the part 1 and part 2 posts about my trip to Ohio in October, I did not do a lot of real research. I spent a good portion of the week between the two seminars I attended just reminiscing about my life when I lived in Columbus.

One day I just drove around Columbus looking at the changes to the places that were very familiar to me as a child and adult. I checked out the new park that was created at the former site of a major downtown shopping mall, City Center. I even got lost in the downtown area that is referred to as the "arena district". This was all new to me as it was not created until after I moved from Columbus 13 years ago. I finally did see a sign for a familiar street which eventually took me up through the Ohio State University area. Having grown up in this area I was assaulted with so many changes that at times I felt like I was in a foreign land. As I headed north I decided to drive past one of the elementary schools I attended. The Holy Name building still sits across the street from Holy Name Church on East Patterson Avenue, but it is no longer "Holy Name". It now houses Centro Parroquial Santa Cruz, which appears to be a Latino Catholic Center. There's a sign in front that also states it's the location for the Santa Cruz Church. I do not know when it closed it's doors as Holy Name Elementary. I then drove past one of the homes we lived in when I attended Holy Name. On the Franklin County Auditor's website the picture of this house does it justice. In reality it really looked run down. Of course this area is pretty much Ohio State housing so it was no surprise to see a couple young men throwing a Frisbee out front. Again traveling further North I drove by the home I owned before I moved to New York. It still looked good, but the  homes on the short street on which I lived have started to look somewhat rundown. A short drive from this home was where another major shopping mall, Northland Mall, used to reside. It's good to see that the Northland Community has not taken the loss of this Mall sitting down, and have done a good job of reusing the land, and have even brought new development into the area.

An area not familiar to me is Camp Chase, which was a military staging, training, and prison camp in the Civil War. What remains now is the cemetery which contains 2260 graves of Confederate soldiers. I wanted to visit this site, which even after living in Columbus for 49 years I had never visited. I knew it was on Sullivant Avenue in Columbus' Hilltop neighborhood. I should have done my homework before taking on this adventure, because I never did make it there. I thought I knew about where it was located and determined that somehow I was just missing it. It turns out I just hadn't went out Sullivant Avenue far enough. Next visit!

I did manage to visit the Ohio Historical Society's Archives/Library for one morning. I found one obituary for which I was looking, but came away without finding the newspaper edition that contains the advertisement in which I am featured as a cute 2 1/2 year old. It was an ad for a shoe store. I needed special shoes until I was five years old, and this store was the place which sold such shoes. I guess they thought I was a good "model" as my Mom was asked for her permission to have me featured in the ad. I also browsed through various Columbus city directories, finally determining our moves as a family in the 1950s-1960s. I was also hoping to determine by entries in these directories just when my Grandma Rose and her second husband married. Still working on that as the marriage record was another one of the things I did not find in the microfilm for Franklin County marriages.

I also stopped one afternoon at the Mount Vernon Public Library, where I obtained 15-20 obituaries.

I did not obtain a lot of physical material on this research trip, but the emotional journey was so rewarding!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ohio Research Trip October 2011, part 2

This is the second post about my recent Ohio research trip. The first can be read here.

I left for Ohio on Friday, September 30th. I had signed up for the Ohio Genealogical Society's Fall Seminar, featuring Dick Eastman, which was being held in Bellville, Ohio on October 1st.

Dick gave four talks:

  • The Organized Genealogist
  • Conservation: Keeping Up With Technology
  • Wikis for Genealogists
  • Maine Outhouses I Have Known and Loved
All talks were informative. I learned new things, and each of the first three gave me new ideas to aid in my family research. The talk on the Maine outhouses was just plain fun!

I do have to admit I was disappointed in the venue for this Seminar. It had been moved from the OGS Library to a church just down the road. This "church" was in what looked like an old gymnasium. It reminded me of an airplane hangar! And it was quite chilly, though I think the heat was turned up a little later in the day. Also, there were no handouts for the talks. Lunch was not provided. From an esteemed organization such as OGS, I was expecting more.

Skipping ahead to the following weekend, I headed to Dayton, Ohio on Friday, October 7th. I had registered for the Montgomery County Chapter of OGS' 2011 Seminar being held in Dayton on October 8th. The featured speaker for this event was Paula Stuart-Warren.

Paula also gave four talks:

  •  The U. S. National Archives: The nation's Attic
  • What Next? Developing Research Plans
  • Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research
  • The Art of Genealogical Research Trips
Again, all talks were informative and I learned a lot about areas I feel that I am weak when it comes to my family history research.

The venue for this seminar was almost perfect. The seating arrangement of round tables, each with about 8 chairs, was much more conducive to talking with other attendees than the rows of chairs at the OGS Fall Seminar. The temperature was such that I did hot shiver, nor sweat. A very nice lunch was provided. And a folder filled with handouts of the talks and other Montgomery County Chapter of OGS' information was provided. A bonus were raffle drawings throughout the seminar. Though I did not win, it was a nice touch.

Not to disparage Dick Eastman as his talks were full of information and delivered well, but Paula's subject matters spoke more to my current interests.

In my next post I'll write more about what I did in-between these two seminars.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ohio Research Trip October 2011

I have to say that this past research trip to Ohio was probably the best one I have taken since I started my family history research. It wasn't because I found anything that would break down a brick wall, but more about the time I spent with family and friends.

I met my cousin, Andy Rose, at my Dad's 88-year-old cousin's home. We spent 4 hours catching up and a few things were learned about my Dad and his family. One was just a simple comment about the wife of my Uncle Andy. It gave me the answer to the question as to who my family visited a few times when I was quite young. I remember visiting a family, whom I knew was somehow related, several times. I remember that they lived next to the Olentangy River. Several times over the years I had wondered who this family was, and thought I would most likely never know the answer. But as we were talking with my Dad's cousin, Virginia, she mentioned my Uncle Andy's wife, Levia, and that she lived "up by the river". I've mentioned before that I am the only one alive now that has recollections of my early childhood within my own family. I would have never thought to have asked Virginia about this memory, and am so glad that it came up during our conversation.

During this research trip I also visited with several more relatives and an old friend. Such a good feeling visiting these loved ones.

There is much more to write about this trip, but will do so in future posts.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

OGS and Montgomery County OH seminars

I'm heading to Bellville, Ohio tomorrow to attend the Ohio Genealogical Society's Fall Seminar on Saturday featuring Dick Eastman. Then next week I'll be doing some research again in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The following Saturday I'll be in Dayton, Ohio attending the Montgomery County Chapter of the OGS for their annual Genealogy Seminar featuring Paula Stuart-Warren.

Hoping that I come home with lots of good stuff! If anyone else is going to these two seminars, please say "hi"!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy 103rd Birthday Dad!

James Joseph Porter
20 Sep 1908 - 01 Jan 1977

The above photo is my favorite photo of my Dad. He was 33 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in July 1942, and 37 years old when he was honorably discharged in October 1945, so he would have been in his mid-30s in the above picture. 

Dad arrived into this world on September 20, 1908 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, the fourth child of Harry L and Rose E Linn Porter. He spent his youth in Mount Vernon, moving to Columbus with his mother and a couple siblings about 1928. He graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1929 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. Being almost 21 years old when he graduated from high school, he had continued with school even though being held back a couple times. I've always been proud of my Dad knowing that even though he was held back a couple times, he still graduated from high school. His grades in school were not the problem. He missed several months of school once when he was badly scalded as an 8 year old. Then again he missed several months of school due to another serious illness. I don't really know a lot about my Dad's life as a youngster. He was not one to talk a lot about himself. I just wish that I had taken the time to engage him more in conversation about his life. His life is more documented from 1942 onward, so I know certain facts about him after that time.

Dad at barracks
He entered the Army 16 Jul 1942 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. His occupation in the Army was Supply Clerk 835. Leaving the US on 2 Apr 1943, he arrived in Europe on 13 Apr 1943. The battles and campaigns in which he served were Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He embarked for the US on 26 Sep 1945, arriving on 5 Oct 1945.

Sitting on Siegfried Line Dragon Teeth

Faye and James Porter

On 7 Jun 1935 he married his first wife, Faye Bennett, in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. This marriage lasted about 10 years; divorce occurring approximately 1945. Faye supposedly found someone else while Dad served his time in the Army. There were no children from this marriage.

Dad met my Mom in early 1946, courted her for 6 months, then they married on 29 Jun 1946 in Newport, Campbell, Kentucky.

I'm not sure when he started working at Jeffreys Mining and Manufacturing Company, but he continued working there as an expediter until he retired about 1970. He worked there more than 30 years, taking time off only for his service to his country during WWII.

Mom, Mom's twin sister Mary, Dad at Spokane Expo 1974

Dad did not think we had the money to travel, so we rarely took vacations. But he and Mom did start to travel after he retired from Jeffreys. They traveled several times to see the Fall foliage in New England, and once to the Spokane Expo.

Dad and Mom would often get together with her twin sister and husband to celebrate their birthdays and/or holidays. This picture was taken at Mom's sister's home in Mansfield, Richland, Ohio where they had gone to celebrate New Year's Eve. Dad looks quite happy, doesn't he? 

Two things I did not like about my Dad ... he was a smoker and a drinker.


I don't know if my Dad would have been called an alcoholic. He only drank beer, only at night and/or weekends. It did not interfere with his work or ability to support his family. The problem with the drinking was that he preferred to do it at the bars. Since my Mom worked at nights at the General Motors plant in Columbus, it was left to Dad to watch my older brother and myself. He failed miserably at this. So many nights alone, or doing homework in the bar, or falling asleep in the bar. Not a fun way to have been brought up. But I survived, and learned a lesson from my upbringing. 

Dad died on 01 Jan 1977 after battling pancreatic cancer for about 5 months.

My Dad was not perfect. But I know he loved us and was proud of his family. It's just the way he was.

Happy 103rd birthday Dad!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shout out - Martin County (FL) Genealogical Society

I just wanted to let everyone know about the Martin County (FL) Genealogical Society. I recently was in need of a few obituaries for relatives that lived in Stuart, Martin County, Florida. Neither GenealogyBank nor NewspaperArchive returned any hits. I then posted one request on the Martin County, Florida Ancestry message board. A very kind gentleman from the Martin County Genealogical Society responded. He was able to find the one obituary I wanted, and also one more that I requested after reading the first one.

In his response he gently asked for "say, a $5.00" donation. It was not required, but I was glad to send the society a donation.

This made me realize that this is a way for local genealogical societies to make themselves known, and to possibly obtain a small donation. I just wish that all local societies would monitor the message boards. I know that not all have the resources - maybe don't have obituary indexes, etc., but if they do, it would be good for them to respond to these messages.

Has anyone else had a member of a genealogicial society respond to a message board request?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Long Road to Organization

For over a week I've been doing little research while I have been trying to better organize my stuff. It is a rare event when I can find something I want from my stash, so this is way overdo.

After listening to the Legacy Family Tree webinar "Organizing for Success" by Karen Clifford I decided that I wanted to try organizing both digital and paper documents by what is called the Marriage Record Identification Number, or MRIN, that is used by Legacy Family Tree to identify marriages.

I ordered supplies from Karen Clifford's company. After I received them, the thought occurred to me that for the price I paid, someone should have come with the purchase to set it up! lol

Since I'm only working on my Porter family, at this time I would not be using every number in the filing system. So I've run a report in Legacy from which I've determined what numbers I'll actually need (MRINs used in the Porter family). Now I'm sorting through the numbers in the purchased filing system to see if I actually have everything I need. *crossing fingers*

I have also been renaming the file names on my hard drive to use the MRIN. So now I might have a filename such as "349 CR1880", which would tell me that this record is an 1880 census record for the couple with MRIN number 349.  I've worked my way into the surnames that begin with D, so I have a long way to go.

I think I'm going to like this file organization, especially the digital version. We'll see in a few months how I like the paper documents' version.

If anyone is interested in this filing system, check out Karen's webpage FileYourPapers.Com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I bet you think my Mommy's dead...

Those that follow my blog might have noticed I've been absent for a couple weeks. I thought of what I said to my Aunt Mary shortly after my Mom started working at the General Motors plant in Columbus when I was about 3 1/2 years old. My Aunt Mary had come to stay for a few days since my Mom worked nights, and she had not arranged for babysitting yet. I said to Aunt Mary when she was getting me ready for bed "I bet you think my Mommy's dead, but she's not. She's at work!".

Well, I'm not dead! I took what could be called a vacation, though the purpose was not one for relaxation. I drove with my daughter Jamie to Atlanta, Georgia. She started work as an unpaid intern at the Georgia Aquarium. We're all hoping that it turns into a full time paid position. She recently graduated with a BS in Marine Biology from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. This is a dream job and one that is hard to come by in this field, so we are quite excited about the opportunity.

I helped Jamie find an apartment, and we explored the area. But I mostly spent the time in the hotel room while she worked as it was just too hot to do any exploring on foot. I did visit the aquarium. It is very nice! It is supposed to be the largest aquarium in the world. They recently started an indoor porpoise show. I like the fact that everything is inside, especially when it's mid-90s outside!

After Atlanta I took an Amtrak sleeper car to New York City to visit my son, Nick. I visited a couple days and finally arrived home early Saturday.

I was able to do a little online research while in Atlanta and will do another post soon on what I've found.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Surname Saturday - HUNTOON / HUNTORN

I've written about my great grandmother, Mary R. Huntoon here and also here.

I try to revisit her every so often. I'm not sure why, but the thought occurred to me that the woman with whom she is living in 1870, Mary Taylor, might not be her mother-in-law, but her mother.

Looking at Mary Taylor again with this in mind, I find that she was born in Pennsylvania, which is where in 1880 Mary Huntoon Porter states her mother was born. I had already found her date of death, but had not looked at her death certificate, so I obtained a copy from It states that her father's name was David Stagers. On Mary's son, John James Taylor's death certificate, Mary is listed as Mary Stiggers. As mentioned in one of the previous posts I've seen the surname Stiger or some variation of it on several Ancestry family trees pertaining to this family. I then obtained a copy of Mary Taylor's obituary. It states that she was born in Green [Greene] County, Pennsylvania. Already known facts are that she married Burgess Taylor and was survived by her son, John J. Taylor. In the 1900 federal census both Burgess and Mary Taylor state that they had been married 39 years, putting their marriage date at about 1860-1861. Their son, John, according to his death certificate was born in November 1861. My Great Grandmother, Mary Huntoon Porter, was born about 1853. So for Mary Taylor to be Mary Huntoon Porter's mother, the marriage to Burgess would have had to have been a second marriage. Looking through my book on Knox County marriages between 1808 to 1875, I could not find a marriage record in Knox County for Mary Staggers and Burgess Taylor. However, I did find a marriage record for Mary Staggers and Owen/Oren Huntorn!

So it appears that my hunch was right. The Mary Taylor with whom my Great Grandmother, Mary Huntoon Porter, is indeed my Great, Great Grandmother. The other thing that gives some support to this is a paragraph printed just before Mary Taylor's obituary: "George Mohr of Gambier [Knox County, O], Arthur Porter, Joshua Taylor, Bertie Lybarger and Mrs. Ida Worman [Warman] of Knox county, attended the funeral of Mrs. Mary Taylor on Wednesday of last week." Arthur Porter, Bertie Lybarger and Ida Warman are Leander and Mary Huntoon Porter's children. Several times in the local paper "Richwood Gazette" [Union County, Ohio] Mrs. Mary Taylor is mentioned as having returned from visiting relatives in Knox County.

I cannot find anything more on Owen/Oren Huntorn. The surname Huntorn is seen some in census records, but not in Knox County/Union County areas. It's possible that the surname is not Huntorn, but Huntoon/Hontoon. I'm sure that all were illiterate so the surname was written as it sounded. I will of course keep looking for my newly-found 2nd Great Grandfather.

So as of today I have definitely verified the story that my Great Grandmother's last name was Huntoon (or something that sounded very similar). What I have not verified is if Mary's father was Native American. A DNA test might help determine if there is Native American blood in our ancestry. I have most likely identified my 2nd Great Grandparents, Owen/Oren Huntorn/Huntoon and Mary Staggers.

I now have to find more supporting evidence, but I feel confident that I have again taken a chunk out of my brick wall, Mary Huntoon Porter.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Military Monday - Sons & Daughters of World War II Veterans Genealogy Society

I recently came across the Sons & Daughters of World War II Veterans Genealogy Society's website. I am wavering back and forth on whether I should join or not.

The pros are that it would be very easy for me to prove my decendancy from a WWII vet. I have my father's Army discharge papers, my birth certificate, and my marriage license. The Army discharge papers show the same address for Dad as that on my birth certificate. Easy! Probably the easiest Society requirements for me, most likely because I didn't have to go back that far to obtain the required documents.

The con is the price ... $125.00 for the initial application, then others can 'hitch a ride' on that application for an additional $25.00 each.

I've browsed some of the members. Seeing that some have pictures of the WWII vet is a nice touch, but after listening this past Wednesday to Maureen Taylor's webinar "Google Images and Beyond", I don't know if I could share a very nice picture I have of Dad in uniform due to copyright issues.

Anyway, while I ponder over this please check out this Society's website.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekly Roundup 22 Jul 2011

After attending the Legacy Webinar "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships" I decided to try to find a living female descendant that would carry my Great Grandmother, Mary R. Hontoon/Huntoon's mtDNA. I have identified a few women that are descended from Mary's daughter, Bertha Bell Porter Lybarger. While doing this research I found that I had a lot of to-do's still open for this family, so I sent a few requests to the Knox County Records Center. Most items were found, but will have to look elsewhere for a few marriage records. I sent my SASE and fee today to the Records Center; hope to have those items next week.

I was contacted by a descendant of my half great-great uncle, William Lee Porter, who had seen my blog. I was happy to share the Mexican & Civil War pension files. Again, by revisiting his pension files I realized that I did not have his Compiled Service Record for his Mexican War service, so I requested that from NARA. (Already have the CSR for his Civil War service).

A couple weeks ago I had filled in the request for military service records for my brother, Patrick Porter. He served in the Navy, and did one tour of Vietnam. His records should have survived the 1970s fire. Received a letter late last week requesting a death certificate, or something similar that would show that he was dead, i.e. obituary. I then sent a request for Pat's death certificate to the Columbus Public Health Department. Surprisingly I have already received it.

While I was requesting Pat's death certificate, I decided to also request my Grandmother, Rose Linn Porter Milter's death certificate, which I also received.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - My Heritage Pie Chart

I know, I know ... it's Monday but just saw this and thought it would be fun too!

Saturday's mission from Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog was:

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents with their birth, death, and marriage data (dates & places).
2) Determine the countries (or states) that these ancestors lived in at their birth and at their death.
3) For extra credit, go make a "Heritage Pie" chart for the country of origin (birth place) for these 16 ancestors. [Hint: you could use the cart generator from Kid Zone for this.]
4) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook or google+.

WARNING: The following ancestors have been researched, but some of the information lacks standard sources. So please do not copy. Someday I hope that they will be fully sourced.

Here are my 16 great-greats:

William Porter, parents unknown, was born about 1794, most likely in Connecticut but birth has been seen as New York also. He most likely died in May 1862 in Knox County, Ohio, USA. He married Catherine ? Davis on 24 Sep 1842 in Knox County, Ohio, USA.

Catherine ?, parents unknown, was born abt 1810 in New York. She died 14 Jun 1882 in Knox County, Ohio, USA.

Unknown father of Mary Hontoon/Huntoon, supposedly born in Pennsylvania. Marriage and death information unknown.

Unknown mother of Mary Hontoon/Huntoon, supposedly born in Pennsylvania. Marriage and death information unknown.

John Linn, son of Jacob Linn and Elizabeth Ulrich, was born 6 Nov 1822 in Pennsylvania. He died 22 May 1911 in Akron, Summit, Ohio, USA. On 23 Jun 1850 he married Ellen Fitzsimmons in Stark County, Ohio, USA.

Ellen Fitzsimmons, daughter of William Fitzsimmons and Collen Cahill, was born 24 Aug 1822 in County Down, Ireland. She died 11 Dec 1885 n Navarre, Stark, Ohio, USA.

Mathew Mathias Carlin Sr., son of unknown parents, was born about 1816 in County Louth, Ireland. He died 24 Mar 1900 in Canal Dover, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA. He married on unknown date in Ireland Jane Rochford.

Jane Rochford, daughter of unknown parents, was born abt 1830 in County Louth, Ireland. She died 3 Apr 1866 in Ohio. USA.

Ingham Wood, son of John Wood and Phebe Bradford, was born 19 Mar 1821 in Clark County, Ohio, USA. He died 4 Sep 1902 in Union County, Ohio, USA. On 22 Apr 1841 he married Ann Maskill in Union County, Ohio, USA.

Ann Maskill, daughter of Robert Maskill and Isabelle Middletown, was born 10 Oct 1818 in England. She died 1 Sep 1878 in Union County, Ohio, USA.

Unknown father of James William Lewis. Place of birth unknown.

Unknown mother of James William Lewis. Place of birth unknown.

Jacob Henry Shafer, son of William T Shafer and Sarah "Sally" DeWitt, was born 10 Jan 1814 in Delaware County, Ohio, USA. On 24 Nov 1841 in Marion County, Ohio, USA he married Hester Ann Cupp.

Hester Ann Cupp, daughter of Conrad Cupp and Elizabeth Croninger, was born 6 Oct 1819 in Pickaway County, Ohio, USA. She died 7 Jul 1910 in Union Township, Van Wert, Ohio, USA.

Andrew Gandy, son of Abijah Gandy and Rebecca Harris, was born 9 Aug 1826 in Clark County, Ohio, USA. He died 29 May 1900 in Leesburg Township, Union, Ohio, USA. 27 Nov 1847 in Union County, Ohio, USA he married Elizabeth Ann Johnson.

Elizabeth Ann Johnson, daughter of Elias Johnson and Eliza Hyde, was born between 1821-1822 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, USA. She died 9 Oct 1894 in Union County, Ohio, USA.

This was a good exercise as I can quickly see that I have 5 unknown great-great grandparents. Hopefully someone will see this and say "Hey, I know that guy's parents!".

Edited: 7:20pm - looked at this again and realized that I actually only have 4 unknowns and one from England that I did not input to the chart

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekly Roundup 15 Jul 2011

I received an email from a paternal cousin who asked me to look into another cousin of ours named Marilyn. She stated that she and her husband had been talking about this cousin, and was hoping to see if she was still with us as she was wanting to contact her. This gave me the opportunity to visit this family again as it had been awhile since I last worked on them. I found that the husband of our cousin Marilyn had passed away in 2002 at the age of 67 years. His obituary lists his occupation as Master Carpenter; however, I was told that he also worked as a bus driver in his later years. Next I verified that our cousin is still alive and is living in Grove City, Franklin, Ohio. Marilyn is one of at least 3 children of my father's brother, Leslie Andrew "Andy" Porter, who passed away in 1944 at the age of 36.

I received the mapping software, AniMap. I have not had a chance yet to work with it.

I received the obituaries that I had requested from the Wood County (OH) Genealogical Society. They were for the following: Mrs. V. R. [Jennie Minor] Porter (2), John Porter, J. W. Porter, David Porter, Miss Porter (daughter of Calvin Porter), Mrs. Francis Porter, Mrs. J. H. Porter, Mrs. Kirby [Laura Porter] Shuman (2), Calvin Porter, Mrs. [William] Rose Porter, and four year old son of James Porter. This is the Truman Porter family that I'm hoping to find a link to my William Porter family. Unfortunately, none of these obits helped me do that.

Participated in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships" by Dr. Ugo A. Perego. At first I wasn't sure if this was going to contain new information, but was pleasantly surprised at all the new things I did learn. Definitely glad that I didn't miss this one. During this Webinar, Geoff Rasmussen announced that with the latest version of Legacy Family Tree you can enter additional DNA information into the database. I think the current version accepts Y-DNA only from a handful of vendors. I think the current version also does not allow you to enter the results from GeneTree, but the new version does. Dr. Perego is associated with GeneTree, and parts of the Webinar appeared to be a major commercial for their products. However, it was acceptable due to all the new information I learned.

I scanned a few more documents and photos. So many more to do! Also worked on a new backup system using Windows 7 Libraries.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tech Tuesday - Using Windows 7 Libraries - 1st Step toward a better backup system

I know that I'm probably late getting out of the gate using Windows 7 Libraries. I have been using Windows 7 since shortly after it was released. However, I have to admit that the Libraries mystified me until just recently. At first I looked at them and thought "OK, this is probably a good thing, but what the heck am I supposed to do with them?". I continued with that thinking until I decided I was tired of skirting around them. I just knew they had to be useful, else they wouldn't have a position of prominence in Windows Explorer, would they? So I finally broke down and read up on what they are and how they can be used. Now I understand them. So much so, that I have recently reorganized my entire file system to take advantage of them.

The tech tip I'm writing about today is just one handy thing about Windows 7 libraries. What did I discover that warrants a write-up? You can use W7 libraries to make an easy backup of everything important to you. I know some of you are already aware of this, but it was a nice revelation for me.

I've been wanting to make my backups easier so that I don't miss anything. I know there is a lot of cloud-based backup systems, but I don't want to use them just yet. I do believe that one should have several methods of backup, and I will be looking into that soon.

In the past I would just go through my list in my head of what I had to backup. Sometimes I would miss something, and a couple times that has been responsible for losing files or information important to me.

What I recently found out about W7 libraries is that you can create your own libraries! So I have created a library called Backup Library where I've included folders that I want to make sure are backed up.

As you can see from the above snapshot, I have also added a folder to the Pictures Library. I have a ton of photos and most of them are stored on a Western Digital 600GB external hard drive. I also restructured my file system so that most of what is important to me exists under either the My Documents or Public Documents folders if it doesn't exist under one of the other Libraries. For example, I am an avid gardener and I have a very large Garden folder. In the past I had that sitting at the same level as My Documents. That has now been moved under the My Documents folder.

I have never used the operating system Backup utility. I have read the W7's backup utility is an improved application, but I cannot see how it will help me with my current situation. Right now I'm using a laptop and I do not keep it running overnight. I know that you can run a W7 backup even when using the computer, but would prefer it to run overnight. When I again purchase a desktop I will probably be more inclined to use this type of utility since I don't have a problem with keeping a desktop machine running all the time. In the future I will investigate both W7 Backup and Restore utility and non-Microsoft backup solutions. (Desktop usage vs. new technology is a topic for another discussion :-) )

Right now the Library I've created, along with the four libraries already established by W7, contain about 97 GB of data (about 60,000 files). As I write this blog post I am copying everything under the Libraries umbrella to a Western Digital 500GB drive. When it started the copying process said it would take about a day. Now it says 5 hours. That remains to be seen. If it does takes too much time, I'll probably break down the backup into the individual Libraries. I've already done a practice backup with just a couple folders in the Backup Library. Worked great and did not take very long. Of course it was much, much smaller.

Using Windows 7 Libraries as a means to make my backups easier is not perfect. I still have to remember to export my bookmarks, my blog posts, etc. before copying the libraries to my external backup drive. But this is a good first step.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekly Roundup 08 Jul 2011

Really haven't had a lot of time for research this week.

I found that I can via interlibrary loan checkout microfilms of New York newspapers from the New York State Archives. I'll be putting together a list soon.

In an effort to find my 3rd Great Grandparents I did start analyzing the Porter families living in the Southern Tier of New York, from 1810 onward. First county (and only county so far) that I've looked at is Steuben County, New York.

I thought at first that a Robert Porter who was born in Hartford County, Connecticut and migrated to Prattsburgh, Steuben, New York sometime in the early 1800s was a good candidate, but further research showed that his family unit probably included a son named William who was born about 10 years after my William. I think I want to still look for a will of this Robert, just to make sure of my current conclusion.

I also looked at a John Porter and Joseph Porter living in Reading, Steuben County, New York in 1820. It appears that John is the father of Joseph Porter. They both disappear after the 1820 census.

Mathew Porter and David C Porter are found in Dansville, Steuben County (later Dansville, Livingston County) in several census records. Further research shows that they are brothers, and descend from Nathaniel Porter (1743-1797) and Charity Lane (1747-1813). Both were born in New Jersey so I have discounted this family at this time.

I also looked at Moses Porter in Cohocton, Steuben County; however, he is too young to be a father to my William but of the age to be a brother. Further research is needed on this male Porter.

I hope to continue to work through each Southern NY county, analyzing each Porter family. It is my opinion at this time that William's father and mother were most likely born in Connecticut, but moved to New York, either before William's birth or shortly after. I probably should also look at migration patterns used by settlers from Connecticut across Southern New York.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Roundup 1 Jul 2011

I submitted to the National Archives Personnel Record Center a request for my brother, Pat's separation papers from his service in the Navy. Then I sent the required 'signature' page.

I sent a request to the Wood County (OH) Genealogical Society for several Truman Porter relatives' obituaries.

I spent some time searching the SAR database at Ancestry for any male Porter who was born in Connecticut. Will do the same with male Porters born in New York. When I'm done searching this database I expect to have some names that will need further research.

I started scanning documents in my possession. In an effort to be more organized I also have created folders for items that I've scanned and for those that need to-be scanned. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with these items after they are all scanned.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Western Electric, E. Broad St. plant, Columbus, Ohio

Who could forget their first job? I started working at Western Electric in 1967 and remained there for about one year. I worked there only long enough to save money to visit my brother, Pat, in Scotland, who was stationed there with the Navy.

I can't remember exactly what my title was, but do remember the work. I was part of a group who built switchboards. Remember those? The funny thing about this is that I later worked as a switchboard operator while going to college.

Factory work is not fun. Having that experience I definitely can appreciate factory workers of today. Both my Dad and Mom worked for over 30 years each in factories, Dad retiring from Jeffreys Mining Machinery, and Mom retiring from General Motors.

Take a look at this blog entry ... it definitely brought back a lot of memories.

Western Electric workers at the E. Broad St. plant, 1962 (A look back)

What was your first job?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

My Mom, Marjorie Ruth Wood, and Dad, James Joseph Porter, married 65 years ago on 29 Jun 1946 in Newport, Campbell, Kentucky.

Left to right ...

Nellie "Iris" Wood Lucas
Marjorie Ruth Wood Porter
James Joseph Porter
Maurice Franzone
Harriet Porter Franzone

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - GIDDY UP

I just love these pictures! Besides the fact that all three of us kids had these pictures taken while we were young, what I find so interesting is that one of these pictures was taken 10 years after the other two, and in a completely different part of the city. I don't think these types of pictures are done now ... anyone know if they are?

Photo taken 27 Jun 1955 on N. 4th Street (between 8th and 9th Sts.), Columbus, Ohio

Photo taken 27 Jun 1955 on N. 4th Street (between 8th and 9th Sts.), Columbus, Ohio

Photo taken Summer 1965 at 323 Reinhard Avenue, Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Harriet Porter Dunn 1823-1885

Harriet Porter was born about 1823 in Chautauqua County, New York. She is the 4th child born to William Porter (1794 - 1862) and his first wife.

She supposedly married 1st David Dunn on 26 Dec 1842 in Portland, Chautauqua, New York. In 1850 she and her husband David are living in Portland, New York. Three children have been born to this union: Andrew Jackson Dunn (1843 - 1921), Rachel Dunn Daggs (abt 1847 - ?), and James David Dunn (abt 1849 - ?).

Andrew Jackson Dunn married Roxanna Evans on 4 Oct 1866 in Clark County, Missouri. The following children were born to this union: Ann Dunn (1868 - 1948), Clara Dunn (abt 1869 - bef 1880), Ella Dunn Harris (1876 - 1952), and Mae Dunn Coe (Aug 1879 - ?).

Rachel Dunn married Rufus Daggs. They had two daughters: Ella S Daggs Cohagan (1866 - 1941), and Alice D Daggs Gregory (1867 - 1940). It appears that either Rachel died or she and Rufus divorced, as Rachel disappears from the census records, and a marriage record exists for Rufus and another woman in 1876.

James David Dunn married Mary C Gregory 15 Aug 1880 in Clark County, Missouri. Supposed children were David Richard Dunn (abt 1882 - ?), and William Albert Dunn (abt 1884 - ?).

Harriet's husband, David Dunn, died 13 Dec 1880 and is buried in Sugar Creek Cemetery, Madison Township, Clark, Missouri.

Harriet married 2nd John Leible on 29 Mar 1885 in Clark City, Clark, Missouri.

Sadly 14 days later Harriet drowned in a pond near her home.

If anyone has information on this family, please contact me!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekly Roundup 10 Jun 2011

I have to admit I have not been doing much research lately. It's that time of year when I follow another passion of mine - gardening! This year is even busier as I'm redoing one of my large flower beds. Then there's always the veggie garden.

I did do some work on Truman Porter, whom I'm trying to establish any relationship to my 2nd Great Grandpa William Porter. I received 3 obituaries that I had requested from the Wood County (OH) Genealogical Society, but they did not tell me much. Now I have about 10 more I need to request.

I'm still waiting on the Complete Service Record for Albert Porter. I don't know what's taking so long. I received a pension file for another man a couple weeks ago. I had requested both of them at the same time. Maybe they are having a hard time finding his records?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Truman Porter 1801 - 1879

Truman Porter is a person of interest. I decided to research Truman Porter as he could very well be a relative of my 2nd Great Grandpa William, maybe even his brother. A Truman Porter is found in the 1830 federal census living close by my 2nd Great Grandfather, William Porter. He and William are listed on the same page, but are not next to each other. In 1830 Truman is 20-30 years old, and a female 20-30 is also living in his household. 1830 U S Census: Chautauqua, Chautauqua, New York, Page:295; NARA Roll: M19-86; Family History Film: 0017146

William is found in the 1835 New York state census still living in Chautauqua County, New York. He appears in the 1840 federal census living in Harrison Township, Knox County, Ohio. So sometime between 1835 and 1840 William moved to Harrison Township, Knox County, Ohio. Truman Porter is not found in the 1835 New York state census; however, there is a Truman Porter in the 1840 federal census living in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Ohio.

Is this the same Truman Porter? The family in the 1840 federal census consists of one male 30-39 (correct age), 1 male under 5,  2 males 5-9, 1 male 70-79; 1 female 20-29 (hmm, that hasn't changed since the 1830 census), and 1 female 60-69. Year: 1840; Census Place: Jefferson, Knox, Ohio; Roll: 406; Page: 355; Image: 717; Family History Library Film: 0020169

In 1850 federal census, William is still living in Knox County, Ohio, though now he resides in Pleasant Township. No Truman Porter is living in Knox County, Ohio, but there is one of the right age now living in Portage, Ottawa County, Ohio. This household consists of Truman Porter, age 49, born about 1801 in Vermont; Maria Porter, age 38, born about 1812 in New York; David Porter, age 19, born about 1831 in New York; Calvin Porter, age 15, born about 1835 in New York; Van Renisalaer Porter, age 12, born about 1837 in New York; Orrilla Porter, age 10, born about 1840 in New York; John Porter, age 7, born about 1843 in Ohio; Sarah Porter, age 4, born about 1846 in Ohio; Alunson Porter, age 1, born about 1849 in Ohio. Year: 1850; Census Place: Portage, Ottawa, Ohio; Roll: M432_719; Page: 159A; Image: 54

A few things to consider here ... David Porter and Calvin Porter fit the ages of the "2 males 5-9" of the 1840 federal census, and Van R Porter fits the age of the "1 male under 5". However, there are no female children listed with the family in 1840. Orilla is listed as having been born about 1840 in New York. Is this the same family? Orilla could have been born about 1840 but in Ohio. I cannot find her after the 1850 federal census, so I have nothing to compare for her.

In the 1860 and the 1870 federal census, this Truman Porter is living in Plain Township, Wood County, Ohio.

Further research shows that this Truman Porter married Maria Darrow. She was born in New York and there are Darrows living in Chautauqua County, New York in 1830. Maria's father served in the Revolutionary War. Records show that a request to have his pension sent to Knox County, Ohio was issued. This would explain the 70-79 year old male living with the Truman Porter family in the 1840 federal census in Knox County, Ohio.

The above facts lead me to believe that the Truman Porter found in 1830 in Chautauqua County, NY is the same Truman Porter found in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Ohio, and later in Plain Township, Wood County, Ohio.

But is he related to Great Great Grandpa William Porter? There are several Porter families that appear in Chautauqua County, New York before and after William Porter lived there. Are any of them related? So far the only one that appeared also in Knox County, Ohio was Truman Porter. This still does not prove that he is related to William.

I did receive a death notice for Truman Porter in Wood County, Ohio. It only mentioned that Truman Porter of Plain Township had died, so that was of no help. This Truman Porter did not serve in the military so I cannot use those records. There is one troubling thing about this Truman Porter. In several records, including his own census records and those of his children, it states that he was born in Vermont. But there are also census records of both Truman and his children that state he was born in New York. So which is correct? Don't know. Though even if he were born in Vermont, it is still possible that he is William's brother. William was born about 1794, Truman in 1801. That gives the family plenty of time to have moved to Vermont.

I have yet to check military records for any of Truman's sons. Hopefully at least one of them did fight during the Civil War. If so then I can order a compiled service record which should state a place of birth.

If anyone has any information about this Truman Porter, please let me know.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Sacred Heart Church, Columbus, Ohio

Sacred Heart Church
Columbus, Ohio

Sacred Heart Church is located on the corner of 1st Avenue and Hamlet Street in the area of Columbus now called Italian Village. The block where Sacred Heart Church is located, bounded by Summit and Hamlet streets and First and Second avenues, has been Catholic Church property since 1852 or 1853, when William Phelan of Lancaster (OH) willed it to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (The diocese of Columbus was later formed from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1868.)

Sacred Heart was established in 1875. A school was built which had a large hall where church services were held until the current church was dedicated in 1923. Father John Eis was the first pastor of Sacred Heart. He served the church for 44 years. He was replaced by Father (later Msgr.) James Ryan. He served the church from 1919 until his death in 1944. In 1945 Auxiliary Bishop Edward Hettinger was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart. He served for 32 years. Bishop Hettinger is who I remember.

The original school building served as both an elementary and high school. From 1908 on the high school was a commercial school for girls only. The old school was torn down and replaced by a new building in 1957. The girls high school was closed in 1966, and the elementary school was closed in 1972. Today the building is leased to the St. Joseph Montesorri School.

I attended Sacred Heart elementary school 1st and 2nd grades. It was right after I transferred to Holy Name School that the old school building was torn down. I remember going with my Dad to the laying of the new building's cornerstone. Even when I went there I could sense that the building was old. One year a boiler exploded in the lower level. Luckily it was overnight so no one was hurt. But that meant we had to eat our lunches in our classrooms as the cafeteria was in the lower level. Always felt like sitting in a dungeon when eating our lunch! The first and second grades (and probably 3rd and 4th) were on the first floor. I remember walking up the large stairwell to the second floor a few times, once for a hearing test. I'm not sure how the upper level was arranged, and there might even have been a third floor? The hearing test that I remember was in a large hall, so that was probably where the church services were held until the church was built.

I remember the interior of the church as dark and grey. From today's pictures it looks as if there has been some color added to the interior. I also do not remember the wood ceiling. I remember chandeliers hanging from the ceiling also, which are no longer there.

Reading current comments about the church validates my feeling that this church is special. It gives one the feeling of what a church should look and feel like. It has a spirituality that other churches do not. Today about half of the 150-200 people who attend weekly services are from areas outside the parish area.

When I attended Sacred Heart the church was always packed. It was built to seat about 800 people. It was at one time one of the largest parishes in Columbus, but due to the migration of the population to the suburbs, which started after World War II, it now has about 200 registered families.

I was baptized, had my first Confession, and received First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart Church.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those Places Thursday - 999 Crupper Avenue, Columbus, Ohio

999 Crupper Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43229

This building was constructed by an engineering firm, R. S. Fling & Partners, around 1975. I started working for R. S. Fling as a computer operator a few years after the building was built. This was the beginning of my career working in the computer industry. I'm not sure now exactly how many years I worked for this engineering firm, but I do know that I was employed at a local bank by the early 1980s. While I was working for R. S. Fling & Partners they expanded the building. Today it appears that the newer part of the building has a different address and entrance. This part of the building sits behind the part shown in the above photo.

969 Crupper Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43229

The engineering firm folded sometime after I left. I do remember it had a lot of problems and there were several law suits against the firm.

The strangest thing about this building is that part of it has been leased for many years by the company from which I retired in 1999. Though I did not work again in this building, that connection is a weird coincidence.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph Sedgwick Porter and Nancy Jane Kemp

Joseph Sedgwick Porter 
1849 - 1922
Nancy Jane Kemp Porter
1849 - 1921
St. John's Cemetery, Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio

Joseph S. Porter was the first-born son of William Lee Porter (Jr.) and Martha Wallace. He was born 11 Feb 1849 in Knox County, Ohio, and died 19 Jun 1922 in Clinton Township, Knox, Ohio. He married first Mary Elizabeth Sharp 28 Feb 1875 in Knox County, Ohio. This marriage produced at least seven children, but ended in divorce sometime between 1900 and 1909. He married second Elizabeth Jane Rideout Scammell on 25 Jan 1910 in St. Clairsville, Belmont, Ohio. Elizabeth was born 30 Jun 1849 in England, and died 19 Aug 1912 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. Joseph next married Nancy Jane Kemp Butler Singer on 8 Aug 1913 in Knox County, Ohio. This ended in divorce, but the couple remarried 5 Mar 1918 in Knox County, Ohio. Nancy Jane Kemp was born 18 Sep 1850 in Guernsey County, Ohio, and died 6 Feb 1921 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio.

Joseph S. Porter is my half 1st cousin twice removed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Roundup 13 May 2011

Being that it's gardening season and we have had the most wonderful weather this past week, not much was done in my family history research. But that's OK...just gives me more incentive to write more about what I did do!

I did receive two pension files. One was for my GG Grandma Catherine Porter, who filed on the service of one of her sons, William H. H. Davis. I blogged about one of the supporting documents included with the pension application earlier this week. From what I've found so far, Catherine had 4 sons with her first husband. Two of those were the famous dwarfs, Hiram and Barney Davis, otherwise known as "The Wild Men of Borneo". The other two, Esquire and William H. H. Davis, died in the Civil War. This William H. H. Davis was basically unknown to me until I found what appeared to be Catherine's name listed in the book "Index to Ohio pensioners of 1883" by W. Louis Phillips, which I obtained via interlibrary loan from The Ohio Genealogical Society. This listing stated that she had filed as a mother of a soldier. I already had the pension file for her son, Esquire Davis, so I knew that it wasn't that one. I then did a search of the pension file index on Ancestry and found one that appeared to be a match: Catherine Porter, mother of William H. H. Davis. William H. H. Davis is apparently the child living with William and Catherine in both the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses. In 1850 he is listed as David M. H. H. Porter, age 9, born in Ohio. In 1860 he is listed as Henry H. Porter, age 16, born in Ohio. All of the Davis boys were listed with the surname Porter in the census records in which they appeared. It's my feeling that William H. H. Davis was born about 1841, probably just before or after his father died. Maybe he took on the name William later as William Porter was the only father he had known? The other thing that was unexpected was the name of Catherine's first husband, the father of six of her children. In all documentation to date I had seen that his name was David Davis. In this pension application his name is given as Harrison Davis. Good to know when starting my research into the date and place of Catherine and his marriage. When mentioning Catherine's recently deceased husband, GG Grandpa William, it states in a couple places in the pension files that his name was William Lee Porter. So is the William Lee Porter, born 1821 in New York a Junior? Quite possibly, but more research is required for this.

The other pension file I received was for William Lee Porter, William Porter's 1st born son. I have not had a chance to look at this pension file so will blog about it next week.

I spent some time researching Truman Porter, a possible relative of GG Grandpa William. He appears to be found in the 1840 federal census living in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Ohio. But he disappears from Knox County after that. I found one Truman Porter living in Wood County, Ohio. I have sent for copies of obituaries for a Truman Porter, Sarah Porter, and Nelson Porter from the Wood County Genealogical Society. Hopefully that will help to determine if this is my Truman Porter.

Using the Newbury Library's "Atlas of Historical County Boundaries" which I found by reading Randy Seaver's post dated 10 May 2011, I printed out maps of New York counties for the years 1794, 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830. I also started a couple spreadsheets to keep track of my research into GG Grandpa William Porter's place of birth. I've only used the census records for 1790, 1800, and 1810 so far, and am using a select portion of NY counties during my first sweep through the census records. What I'm tracking are families with surname Porter and who have a male child of the age of William. I'm not being too picky in this first sweep, but also am not using every family I come across with a child in the correct age range. Gut feeling tells me William is not the oldest male child so most families that have no other male children other than the one in William's age range have not been included at this stage in the research.

Edited 6/16/2011: Changed relationship of Truman Porter to possible relative, not son of William Porter.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Those Places Thursday - 2124 Indiana Avenue

I really wanted to have a picture of this residence as it was when we lived there.  I also wanted to be able to give precise dates for when my family lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. But instead, after thinking about this place, I'm left feeling rather melancholy. First I am aware of no photos of this place while we lived there. I know a camera was not an item that our family possessed until I bought a cheap one as a teenager. However, it still seems strange that there are no photos. Second, I cannot remember how long we lived at this address. I know we moved from 1435 N. 4th Street to this address in the summer of 1956, and I know that before 1962 we had moved again. But exactly how many years we actually lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue escapes me. The melancholy sets in because I am the only one left in my family that lived in that place, I'm the only one whose memories are of this place, yet those memories have faded. Both my parents and older brother have passed, and they were the only ones that would have shared those memories with me.

So it's with an unknown year that I can report that many years after we moved, this house burned to the ground, killing at least two young people. This home was part of a half-double, consisting of 2124 and 2126 Indiana Avenue. This area of Columbus is very close to The Ohio State University, so eventually this half-double housed OSU students. The fire started on our side, 2124, and was attributed to a candle left burning. I remember the news story stating that those killed were in the bedroom above the living room, which is where the candle was left burning. The upstairs collapsed onto the lower level. It was many years after we had moved from the place. I do remember driving past what remained of the house quite a few years after the fire. Nothing had been rebuilt on the site.

Today a new building stands in its place, and it appears to be a half-double, though the layout is very different. The information taken from the Columbus Ohio Auditor's website, states that this new building was built in 2000. This picture was taken from the Columbus Auditor's webpage:

The only thing that is the same is the tree on the right, which was there when we lived there. The older building had front doors that were on the outside of each side, not both in the center as it exists now, and each unit had it's own stairs to the sidewalk. Each unit had an attic with a small window. It does not appear to have attic windows in the new building. The porches were like those on the house to the left in the picture.

I do remember when we first moved to this house that it had a coal furnace. The coal was delivered through a window on the side of the house. I remember the big floor grates and how it was nice to stand on top of them during the winter. Dad somehow always knew when to put in the coal, as I never remember being cold in this house. We still lived there when our landlord converted the coal furnace to a gas one. I liked the attic in this place. It was big enough to be a third floor. Although there was a bed in a small room created by a three-sided wall in the attic, I don't remember anyone sleeping in it. My brother Pat and I would play in the attic, but it was used primarily for storage.

I remember the first year we lived here, Pat and I continued to attend Sacred Heart School even though we were now in Holy Name parish. I think Dad did not register us early enough to attend Holy Name that first year. Pat and I would catch the bus at the corner of Summit and Lane Avenue. At that time Summit was a two-way street so we would get off the bus on Summit Street close to Lane Avenue when coming home. The next year we did attend Holy Name, which was within easy walking distance from our home.

I now feel a need to lookup this address in Columbus' city directories. Hopefully that will give me a better idea of how many years we lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Catherine Porter pension application

Amanuensis Monday - An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some we never met - others we see a time in their life before we knew them.

Today I an transcribing a page from the pension files I received for my 2nd Great Grandmother's application based upon her son, William H. H. Davis' service in the Civil War.

"State of Ohio, Knox County, ss;

     Before me the undersigned authority in and for the county aforesaid personally came John Hunter of lawful age who being sworn according to law upon his oath says that he has been acquainted with Mrs. Catherine Porter and family for seventeen years last past; that William Porter the husband of the said Catherine Porter died in the Spring of 1862 near Mount Vernon, Ohio; that at the time of his death the said Porter was a poor man, the entire property belonging to the said Porter consisted of thirty acres of poor land worth not over twenty dollars per acre; that there was no buildings on said premises save an old log cabin; that he did not own at the time of his death either a cow, horse or any other animal, but that his entire property consisted of said thirty acres of land and a few articles of cheap furniture, Affiant says that he is also well acquainted with William H. Davis the son of the said Catherine Porter; that ever since the death of the said William Porter the husband, the support of the said Catherine Porter fell upon her said son William H. Davis and he was her only support from the time of the death of said William Porter until he the said Davis departed this life in the month of February 1865. Affiant says that the said William H. Davis worked the said thirty acres of land during the season of 1863; and that the whole profits of said labor went to the support of his mother the said Catherine Porter and that he worked for other parties and took the proceeds of said labor home to his mother the Catherine Porter, that he bought flour, meat and groceries and took them home to his mother for her to live on; affiant says that after the said Davis entered the service he sent his mother money which money was used by his said mother to live on. Affiant says that it was well known and understood by all the neighbors that the said William H. Davis was the sole and entire support of his mother the said Catherine Porter from the date of the death of William Porter the husband until he the said Davis departed this life in February 1865. Affiant says that he knows the above statements to be true as he lived a near neighbor to the said Catherine Porter and had the means of knowing them, that he was often at the house of the said Catherine Porter and has heard the said Mrs. Porter talk and tell about the said Davis being the support, and has seen the said Davis buy and take home provisions to his mother for her support. He further certifies that he has no interest in the prosecution of this claim direct or indirect and that his Post Office address is Mount Vernon Ohio [signed] John Hunter

Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence by John Hunter this 12th day of February A. D. 1870, and I further certify that I have no interest in the prosecution of this claim for pension. [signed] Joseph Watson
Notary Public, K. C. O."

The words that stand out to me are the ones describing William Porter as a poor man, owning nothing more than 30 acres of poor land, an old log cabin, and some cheap furniture. William is mentioned in some of the writings on his two step-sons, Hiram and Barney Davis, who were better known as P.T. Barnum's Wild Men of Borneo. He is always referred to as "Mr. Porter" and a man of dire straits in these writings. Even though I know that a lot of people during this age were not wealthy, it still saddens me to think of what life must have been like for William and his family. No wonder they accepted money for Hiram and Barney from Lyman Warner so he could take the boys on the dime museum circuit. It's my feeling that this is how William was able to afford the 30 acres of land mentioned in the pension application. The deed was issued in 1850 and this is the time frame always given for the 'purchase' of the boys.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Roundup 6 May 2011

Completed monthly backup of all important data.

I ordered the pension file for James Babcock. He is Phebe Rosella Munson Babcock's husband. Phebe had applied for a widow's pension. I'm hoping I will obtain the date of their marriage and the names of their children.

I also ordered the compiled service record for an Alfred Porter, who is a person of interest. This file should confirm whether this is my Alfred Porter, a son of William Porter.

I received a photo of the Joseph R. Porter family from another researcher of this family. It was taken at a family reunion during the early 1920s. Identification was included so this was a very nice gift. Also received a gedcom for the Nancy Porter Pratt family from blogger Tom Pratt. Haven't had a chance to really look at the information, but is on my To-Do list for the upcoming week.

Transcribed William Porter's 1850 deed, and entered it as an event in my database for William.

I started adding source citation to the metadata of each saved census file image. (I'll be doing this for all images I collect). I also started a new naming convention for census records. In the past I had stored all census images in one large folder, sorted by a File ID. I now will be storing them within the 'Surname' folders. The File ID will no longer be a part of the filename, and will be entered now only in the Tag metadata. The filename will still reflect the year and place of the census, but will now also include the name of the primary person included. Primary person is identified as one that is blood-related to me. In the future I will be moving all census images to the appropriate 'Surname' folders.

I read an article by Steve Morse on DNA which appeared in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, March 2009. From this article I was able to determine that if my Great Grandmother, Mary Hontoon, was Native American, an autosomal DNA test should return 12.5% Native American for me.

I had a dream last night where I had my research plan mapped out for finding William Porter's place of birth and parents. The dream was very detailed and upon analyzing it I think it is a valid plan. Weird but I like it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Am I Here?

In yesterday's post Amanuensis Monday,  I transcribed the initial land record that was found for 2nd Great Grandfather, William Porter. It was only after his death, and because of this purchase of land that I was able to put together a more-complete view of his family. Seven children became know to me, two more were confirmed as his children.

This initial purchase of land most likely came about due to receiving money from Lyman Warner, who had approached William and Catherine about taking Catherine's two sons, Hiram and Barney Davis, on the dime museum circuit. He supposedly offered money which was accepted by the Porters. All documentation points to a time period of 1850 for this to have happened. This is when William bought the land.

For some reason this again brings me back to the thoughts of what had to have happened in my ancestors lives for me to be here today. I put together this Wordle which includes some of the words that occur to me when thinking of this ...

Grandpa William for some reason moved to Chautauqua County, New York sometime before 1820. He either was already married, or married while there, and had at least nine children. None of these children were my ancestors. My story would have been a non-story if William had not moved from Chautauqua County to Coshocton County, Ohio sometime between 1836 and 1840. Somehow because of his arrival in Coshocton County, Ohio he met and married the widow Catherine Davis who had migrated with her family from Long Island, New York to Coshocton County, Ohio. William had already moved to Knox County, Ohio by the time he and Catherine married, and it is unknown whether he had met her prior to his move to Knox County, or if she moved to Knox County after the death of her first husband. Nonetheless they met and were able to marry due to Catherine being a widow, and to William either being a widower or divorced. There's a story behind why Catherine and her first husband moved from New York to Ohio also. Their move and William's move had to have happened for my story to begin.

What prompted William to move from Chautauqua County NY? Did he even own the land on which he lived for 20 or more years? I do know that in the area in which he lived a large amount of land had been purchased from the Holland Land Company by the Prendergast family. It's possible that he leased the land from them. A search of deeds in Chautauqua County is needed to determine if William owned land there. The Holland Land Company played a prominent part in the settling of Chautauqua County NY. It wasn't always a happy relationship between the Company and the settlers. In 1830 the settlers even burned the local agent's building in Mayville, NY. The Company eventually sold its remaining lands to local real estate groups. Was it somehow a result of this unrest that William decided to pack his belongings and head to Ohio? Did his decision only rest on the issue of land? Or was it more domestic? Did his wife die, leaving him with many young children, and the desire to start a new life?

Most likely William was not born in Chautauqua County, NY. What prompted him to move from his place of birth? During this time period a male usually moved to another location because he was a younger male child in a family and would not inherit land. Moving to a place where land was readily available and possibly cheaper was a very good option.

Though not in the scope of this blog, my paternal grandmother's grandparents, Matthew and Jane Carlin, immigrated from Ireland during the potato famine. If they had not done that, again my story could not have been told. Going further back it's possible that some of my ancestors came to America for religious reasons.

My own father had been married before his marriage to my mother. If they had not divorced I would not be here.

All these variables and each one is why I am here to write this story.